Time to join the story…

Christmas is a time of storytelling. Essentially though that is what we do all the time. Be it face to face – (some hope these days,) or in a letter which you might get at a push at Christmas – or by many and various social media options that appear to be a part of many peoples lives. Essentially we are telling our own story. Christmas time especially so – be it the annual round robin letter to family an friends or simply a catching up over a drink and a meal. The stories we tell and listen to define who we are. So what are some of the stories we might be subjected to this year?
In 2009 there was the mildly amusing ‘Nativity’ film telling the story of a school nativity play doomed to failure, but finally making itself a fabulous success. On the back of that the doomed sequel Nativity II and this year we are subjected to Nativity III: Dude, where’s my Donkey? all highly amusing, i’m sure! The other really Christmas Film this year, set to be a classic of the future so say the critics is ‘Get Santa’ – We must Save Christmas whatever that means. In a desperate attempt to get the jolly old white bearded fellow out of jail onto his magical flying sleigh and back on track for deliveries of presents. Christmas must happen! Well i guess that is one version of the story. I never got past the first page of the Hobbit, despite trying numerous times, so that film holds no great attraction at all. Paddington however is a must see classic for all those who are nostalgic about the statue of the great bear in London and mourn the loss of the marmalade monster on his namesake station. I guess a film about having an extra house guest is getting closer to the ‘christmas’ mark, though I’m sure they all would have been better off if there had been ‘no room at the inn’. However, if you really want to take the cultural temperature of life this Christmas you could do a lot worse than to read and now watch the latest blockbuster teenage fiction – Hunger Games and Divergent. There seems to be a market for stories which tell of the “World Gone Wrong” and how to solve issues of war, unrest and instability on this earth. However there is more to them than you might expect. A young girl it is in both Divergent and Hunger Games who possesses the wherewithal to inspire the others around her to strive for a better way. Both stories offer the holy grail, the ultimate prize, hope in a dark and lost world. Not a bad sentiment for Christmas. Well it is almost upon us. The shops are finally (thankfully) shut. If you’ve not bought it, then it is too late. But after all the turkey and the tinsel, the lights and the liquid refreshments what on earth is it all about? This once a year madness where shopping and food and alcohol and religion are all in high demand – and too much of any of these is a really bad thing! What can it all mean? Are we just drowning our wintertime sorrows? Well I’m going to go with the Hunger games and suggest that as “Shawshank” did before it that ‘Hope is stronger than fear”. And that a lot of hope is a really dangerous, but a really good thing. With enough hope you can change the world. One story that has been lived, and re-told – but you’ll not be able to watch until the new year (mores the pity) is the Theory of Everything. It is of course the story of Stephen Hawking. In his words, “While there is life – there is hope.” How much more hopeful can we possibly be than with the birth of a new life. A yet to be lived life. Our stories define who we are and this night we delve into the world of the ‘Word which became flesh’. At what point do we allow our story to begin to intertwine with the story of Jesus? Are we part of that story or are we a bystander watching from afar as the stable becomes centre stage. A really good story draws you into itself and gets you involved, of course and rather than being the destination – tonight’s story of hope is just the beginning, it is time to join the journey.